Saturday, March 30, 2013


"ROAD SERIES #2 -- SPEED BUMPS"  14 3/4 x 14 1/2  Lori LaBerge  2013

This week led to the completion of "Speed Bumps".  The piece used orange as the contrasting color.  I have been checking my stash for colors to mix with the grays and think the next will be green.  Also would like to try a bright pink.  

For some reason each design seems to tell me which color to use.  I placed multiple colors over the design above after I drew it out on graph paper and the only one that grabbed me was orange, so that was it.  The piece also uses four different grays with two that are highly textural.   

Close-up,  "Speed Bumps"  Lori LaBerge  2013

I used lamp parts to depict the speed bumps along the roadway.  I still find myself wandering all around our local Lowe's store.  I walked through the plumbing aisle and there are some amazing metal parts there.  Have to go back soon and check them out more closely.  Don't think they will work for the "road series", but will definitely work on other pieces.

Grouping of dyed and as-is gray wool waiting to be hooked.  

This week's journal activity involved trees.  Sitting on the porch, looking at the snow on the branches was so relaxing.  As I looked more closely, I noticed how the branches resembled the roadways in the "road series' work.  

The branches twist, turn, curve, and reach out into the world. Some criss-cross each other as they grow, forcing their way past each other to avoid becoming entangled, while others accept their communion with another branch.  Look closely at the photos above and below and you can see the beauty of it all.


Journal page, sketching trees

Although I love taking photos, sketching helps me understand lines and shapes better.  It allows me to work on improving my art.  The physical act of moving pencil across paper demands focus on individual parts as shading is added.  

Grab a pencil and some paper, pick a subject and sketch away!  You do not need to be a pro at drawing and you do not need fancy supplies.  I see myself as more of a graphic artist than a fine artist and I intend to practice my sketching more this year. Experience the lines and shapes you see and have a great day.

Studio Update--

This week we built a stairway to make it easier to carry shingles up to the roof area. Here is Pete at work.  As we get more rows done, we'll be able to work without the ladder.  For now, neither of us works that close to the edge while up on the roof.

 Here is T.C. (Tough Cookie) inspecting the work so far.

Pete also brought home an old shelf he found thinking it would work great to store dyes jars.  I'm hoping to paint it a bright white this coming week.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Untitled work in progress   Lori LaBerge  2013

This week was the start of creating a new series of work. There are numerous reasons for artists to work in a series.  The top reason for those who show their work is that galleries look for cohesive groupings.  It can be confusing if work consists of unrelated pieces.  People should be able to relate to the works and the more they see of similar pieces, the more they are able to understand what the artist's intention is.

Another reason is that it gives the artist a chance for exploration.  How far can you push a certain theme?  Are you learning more about the theme you've chosen? Could the theme be approached in different ways?  The more you study your subject or theme the more you will be able to see it in different ways.  Some artists pursue the same subject for a lifetime.

I used the journal activity this week to start developing the series.  The theme is travel routes and I will also be focusing on using the color gray in a way I have not attempted before.  The metal seen in previous work will continue to be included in these pieces.   

Journal page exploring various designs for travel route theme.  The design on the left is the work in progress at the beginning of this post.

The above photo shows erasures as I went through the design process.  I started out simply drawing pathways through the square shapes and, as things progressed, those lines sometimes changed.  The point of journaling is to explore.  Allow yourself to make errors.  Trying to be perfect will likely lead you nowhere.  

Another journal exploration with the idea of routes, highways and squared off u-turns.

"Timeless Travels"  was the first in this new series.  This and the three designs above will give me a solid start. 

A couple of sources to check for ideas on creating a series of art are:

"Rug Hooking Magazine", March/April/May 2012, article "The Art of the Series".  In this article Carol Koerner and Roslyn Logsdon each created their own series.  Each series was meant to be displayed as one work of art. You can click on the back issue section of the home page to find this older issue.

Lisa Call is an amazing textile artist who has explored series and teaches courses about working in a series.  See work from those who have taken her class here and her latest Postcards from New York series here.

Think about your favorite subjects, explore them in more depth and have a great day.

Studio Update:

Weather is still holding up construction and more rain is due the next 10 days, but we managed to start on the roofing on the back of the building today.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


It was a busy week getting ready for both an exhibit and class.  Artwork was finished and packed in boxes while supplies for class were placed in order.  The car was loaded up and my husband and I were off to PAF Gallery at the N.C. Arts Incubator in Siler City.  

I had my first studio, outside of the home, at the Incubator and it was wonderful to drive up to the old studio doors and be greeted by artists I had spent so much time with. 

Set-up  completed.  The exhibit consists of mixed-media works.

A view from the other direction.

Across the room.

Discussing a piece at the Friday night opening.

A fun and art savvy group headed to the gallery.  Everyone who came had great questions about the works and the creative process.

Class on Saturday morning.  

A focused group hard at work.

Everyone worked with the same design, yet each student made the piece their own.  In the above piece the center square is being split into two sections by a random diagonal line.

 Beautiful greens and purples with squares within squares.

Reds and oranges using triangles.  You can see other color strips that will soon join this grouping.

Who can resist an orange and blue combination?  Yarn adds texture to the center square.

 A soft brown surrounds bright orange-reds with a well-formed center circle.

 Sea-shells will be the focal point of this piece using seaside colors.

Random center shapes add interest to the happy colors in this work.

Bright blue and greens of various color surround an off-center circle.

I was so proud of these students.  They had wonderful ideas and were a very creative group.  They were all a joy to work with.  

Take time to enroll in a class or make up a class for yourself at home and have a great day.

Saturday, March 9, 2013


This week has been spent organizing for the March 15-April 6 exhibit and the March 16 class, both taking place at the PAF Gallery.  I received notice that the class is full and am looking forward to meeting old friends and new.  It should be a great time. Hoops, hooks, wool, yarn, shoelaces, ribbon, metal parts, folders and other items are ready to go.  Fitting everything into the car may be another issue.

I'm still pursuing my interest in travel routes.  This was used as the inspiration for the latest journal project.  I can already sense that the journal will be well worth the time I have been putting into it as a reference tool.

This page in the journal shows various cut-outs from magazines that remind me of roads.  It is amazing how many pictures I found that I could translate to this subject. There are parallel lines, lights down the middle of a gray stripe, single stripes running through a solid color, a cross that reminded me of an intersection and red and blue stones reminiscent of a cobblestone road among other similarities to roads.

The page focusing on trails differs from that on roads.  Where in the road section I tended to stick to straight lines (only one photo differed from this), I veered into more organic and curved lines for the subject of trails.  Running water lines, chevrons, branches, sand lines and other shapes and lines reminded me of wooded trails. 

I found it interesting that I did not include more curved lines under the subject of roads as we live in the mountains where roads tend to twist back and forth quite frequently.  Maybe I find trails to be more for exploration, while finding roads to be a means to get from one place to another.

Here is a view from a recent drive my husband and I took.  I can see a design with gray, yellow and white wool.  Some straight lines with a slight curve at the top. Maybe a purple to create the shapes of shadows.  I've been veering toward gray colors lately, but the colors could be any you can imagine, not necessarily what is in the photo. 

This is a different feeling.  Maybe a variety of white and light gray wool.  Adding some upholstery fabric with the threads hanging may create a textural feel as the dirt and stone road is rougher than a paved surface would be. 

A close-up of a road surface.  The cracks create paths of their own.  Moss and grasses grow in their openings.  I'm finding myself not only looking at the routes of travel that so interest me, but the surface of those routes.  This could lead to more textural elements in works.

Explore the subjects that interest you, look at their various elements, think about the variety of ways they could be portrayed in art and have a great day.

Studio update--

My husband and I cut out the window areas and hopefully, if weather permits, the windows will be installed this coming week. 

 This photo is from the interior of the building looking out.  I'll have a great view!    

Saturday, March 2, 2013


"Timeless Travels"  18 X 18  Lori LaBerge  2013

This week was spent completing "Timeless Travels".  It will most likely be the last piece completed for the exhibit at the PAF Gallery March 15th.  I have spent years working in bright colors and the more I worked on this piece the more I appreciated the calmness of neutral tones.  

This piece depicts the various roads we travel.  The diagonal lines are the back roads of our lives, exploring things few others may have seen or noticed, and the wider gray lines represent the highways which at times can seem never-ending. The circles are reminiscent of how we head off in a new direction and often return to where we started from, which is usually home.

This week has also led me to think about how we really see things.  Abstract work is like that.  Some people see one thing, others something else.  But what about the everyday things we view?  How do we answer the question "What do you see?"  This was my journal activity for this week.

 What do you see?    A bird's nest.
What do you see?  Brown, light blue, small branches, broken eggshells, grasses, curves, yellows, sharp edges, shadows, lights, darks, fragility yet sturdiness, compactness, a home, comfort, safety.

Seeing can lead us to emotions.  Seeing how sturdy this little home is can have us feeling admiration at the ability of a bird to create it or sadness at it's desertion.  My husband and I once spent part of an afternoon watching a mouse create a home in the side hill in front of our house.  It was a fiercely hot day and that mouse actually built an awning in front of the hole he dug in the side of the hill.  I kid you not, we watched that mouse run from the hole to a long grassy area, carry the grass back to the hole and place it on the upper area of the hole an uncountable number of times. I could actually picture him (or her) sipping a mini margarita in a mini lounge chair under that thing after a hard day's work.  Never lose your wonder or emotion in your life or in your art.

 What do you see?  A moth.
What do you see?  Dots, fuzz, rust, white, black, gray, legs, wings, eyes, light under wings and darker top wings, long antennae, veins, segmented body, fragility.

Seeing can lead us to questions.  Why are the underside of wings light and the top dark?  To protect them as they blend into their surroundings.  Why the long antennae?  To help with the stability of flight.  Never lose your curiosity in your life or in your art.

 What do you see?  A broken down home.
What do you see?  Stone, steps, doorway, windows, a section where a fireplace once was, weather-worn edges, collapsed stone, fence, overgrown grass, moss, isolation.

Seeing can lead us to history.  Who once lived here?  Why did they live in such a lonely area?  What did they do with the land?  Why was this home deserted?  We saw this and many other places like it on our rides through Scotland.  I just love thinking about what once happened at these places.  Never lose your sense of history in your life or in your art.

Take a week to really see the things around you, write down your observations, use these observations for future creations and have a great day.